MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan: Local residents gathered on Wednesday morning to commemorate the 89th birth anniversary of the late politician and former labor secretary Blas F. Ople, regarded here as an illustrious and outstanding son of Bulacan, at the Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office in the capitol compound.
Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando led the celebration, along with Ople’s daughter and senatorial candidate Susan ‘Toots’ Ople and her siblings.
Ople was recognized as “Father of Overseas Employment” and author of the Philippine Labor Code, which highlighted the protection of workers’ rights. He served as Senate President, Foreign Affairs Secretary and Labor and Employment Minister. He was first Filipino president of the International Labor Organization in 1975.
Proclamation No. 1204 declares February 3 a special (non working day) in Bulacan to commemorate Ople’s birth anniversary.
Ople was born in Hagonoy, Bulacan on February 3, 1927 to Felix Antonio Ople and Segunda Fajardo of San Miguel, Hagonoy. He died while on board a plane from Japan on December 14, 2003.
He was the first Filipino to be elected president of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1975.
Ople was also a member of the Constitutional Commission in 1887 and he also served as Senate President Pro-Tempore in 1996 to 1999 and became Senate President in 1999 to 2000 when former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed him as Foreign Affairs Secretary.